Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Am...Novel

Although having done some work behind the scenes writing and producing for other artists (including Alicia Keys, Kelis, India.Arie, and Joss Stone), Novel has yet to give his own voice a chance to be heard, until now that is. Last month he released I Am... (Future Black President), and EP that will prep listeners for his debut album The Audiobiography, which is due out in March. Although his name might not be familiar to you, his family has a musical tradition for certin; he's grandson to the underrated soul singer Solomon Burke.

Even though limited to five tracks, the EP shows off a wide range of flavors. The title track,which features Ben Folds, Talib Kweli, and Spree Wilson, has got a Wyclef Jean / Fugees feel to it which continues on into the next cut as well, Wild West. Novel gets a little funky on the third song Damn, sounding a lot like the artist who goes by a lot of different names and symbols, Prince. Somehow he gets a little twangy on Sista (even adding some harmonica for good measure - probably my least favorite of the five), and then closes up shop with Fly Away, which features KnivezOut., which turns heavenward, with a gospel chorus feel to it that makes me think of Moby's song Hymn (This Is My Dream).

The EP shows a lot of promise, and I'll be looking forward to the full length next year. Here's the title cut for you to check out on your own.

(watch the video)

Visit his website, his label Capitol Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


vantika said...

This Novel track is a pleasant enough tune, but my god these hip-hop lyricists are as banal as ever. For instance, off the top of my head, we have the typical, quite proud boast that he's a "product of the ghetto". Guess Uncle Burkie never shared the wealth.

Now this is a genre that could use some maturing.

Sean said...

I have absolutely no proof of this, but I'm not sure that Solomon Burke ever was rolling in the dough. Although he's been performing forever, he's never been accepted as a top tier artist and given his proper due. Again, I could be way off on this, and even if he was well off enough, he's only his uncle, not his father. I don't know about you, but my uncle doesn't send me many checks.

As far as the lyrics go, yea, they don't show all that much complexity or inventiveness, but it his debut, and hip hop has always been about posturing yourself to gain respect and to add an air of authenticity, back from (almost) day one.

Just some thoughts.